Can you see the dent? This happened while riding the hotel shuttle to the airport. We got on the shuttle three hours before the plane was due to leave; however, we almost missed our flight. On the way to the airport, a man in his SUV ran into us. Coffee, hot chocolate, and teachers went flying (on more than just an airplane). We had to stand on the side of a busy Atlanta intersection to wait for the police and a replacement shuttle. Whew! We did make the airplane, and Coach Williams got to smell like hot chocolate for the entire flight.
Speaking of flights, the airport also lost some of our luggage. Yep. I'm not making this up. More about this on day 2.
Lessons learned: Shuttle drivers are the nicest people in Atlanta. Seat belts are great; wear them. We can run faster than we thought. Hot chocolate smells awful after two connecting flights. Teams really come together when the rubber meets the road.
The flight was overnight, so we landed in London the next day. After spending more hours than we planned clearing customs, reporting our lost luggage, and getting the rental car, we headed for Windsor Castle.
Disappointed, we sojourned on to our hotel and hopped on the tube, determined to figure out a way to learn something related to our unit. To save us some time the next day, we decided to find a couple of our destinations ahead of time. We got off the tube at the Bank station just as all the businesses in the financial district were closing. It was amazing to see so many professionals at once. Suits, ties, and heels were everywhere! I could just picture how cool it would be if one of my students decided to work in London some day because of this unit. We found the Museum of London, walked around the outside of St. Paul's Cathedral, and headed for the river.
That's where inspiration struck. The Thames! This river has always been the heart of London, even prehistoric London. As we walked along the Thames, we were inspired by the ships. Did you know that it is believed that the plague was carried to London aboard trade ships? This same river was also the repository for much of the city's sewage during this time, and there was even a movement during the plague to cast the victims' bodies into the river. Later in history, the dirty Thames also resulted in outbreaks of cholera and typhoid. Engineer Joseph Bazalgette solved the sewage problems within the city of London and saved lives in the process (see the picture below of the monument to him that we found along the river's edge). We discovered that the river is vital to our unit! Think about how much trade policies, clean water, and city planning impact our health. Even though the Thames was not originally part of our study or the day's journey, our nighttime stroll by the river's edge gave us a missing piece to our lessons.
Lessons learned: Driving in England is challenging. London is beautiful at night. Go with the flow; sometimes you can find life's best lessons this way.